Relationship Advice for
Reconnecting with your Partner After the Silent Treatment
By Susie and Otto Collins
Pretty much every single one of us has given it and received it.
We're talking about the dreaded silent treatment.
Let's say that you and your mate have had a tense time lately. One of you
said or did something and it triggers the other one. The person who is
angry, sad, or otherwise upset becomes very silent and closed off.
This might just be one of the most uncomfortable and difficult times in your
*When your partner is silent, you might be tempted to "fill in the blanks"
and create a story about why he or she is not speaking or seems closed down.
Your mind whirls on and on with possible scenarios that seem more and more
by the moment-- even though you have no real evidence or information to back
up that assumption.
*When you are the one who is silent, you might want to close the distance
that's come between you and your mate but you're just not sure how to do
that. You are
experiencing a mixture of emotions and simply don't know how best to
Silence isn't always a bad thing in a relationship.
There are times when it's wonderful to simply hold one another, gaze into
each other's eyes or just share quiet loving energy together.
However, when silence is coupled with a perception that something has gone
wrong or is off-kilter between you and your mate, the results can mean more
distance, confusion and further upset.
Consider these ways to reconnect if the silent treatment shows up in your
If your partner appears to be giving you the silent treatment:
First and foremost, allow space.
If you sense that something has happened to cause disconnection between you
and your partner and he or she seems to be closed down and quiet, take a
Take a few moments to remind yourself of what you know to be true. Stop
listening to the stories and explanations that might be forming in your
Instead, think back to what was going on before your mate seemed to start
you the silent treatment.
It could be that your mate's apparent mood or behavior has less to do with
you and more to do with another person or situation. You might even be
reading your partner's mood incorrectly in the first place.
If you are clear about something you might have said or done to upset or
irritate your mate, tune in to yourself and figure out how you want to
Is this something you genuinely feel like apologizing for? What is a
resolution you would like to have happen between the two of you on this
Once you are clearer within yourself, approach your partner.
You might use words like these: "You seem to be quiet and inwardly focused
right now. Would you be willing to share with me what's going on for you? I
want to know how I can support you right now."
Other possible opener words are: "I feel like my words or actions have upset
you in some way. Is my perception accurate? Can we sit down and talk about
Make a request to talk about what's going on in a way that will encourage
your partner to open up. Choose words that will relay to your mate that what
you want most of all is to re-connect with him or her.
You can also be aware of your body language. Keep your energy open and
If you are giving your mate the silent treatment:
When your attention is inwardly drawn, stay tuned in to what's happening for
you. Is your irritation really about your mate or are you transferring upset
feelings about something else onto him or her?
Sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference unless you take a deeper
It might be that your partner did do or say something that really triggered
you and your silence and withdrawal is your way of creating space.
There is nothing necessarily wrong with this.
Sometimes the wisest thing you can do when triggered is to take a few
moments to calm down and get clearer about what you want to do next.
If your mate asks why you are so quiet or closed, you can let him or her
know that you are working some things out internally before you talk
together about what's going on.
You can ask for the space and time you need to shift into an attitude that
will be more conducive to connection.
Be sure you are doing the internal work and the shifting, however. If you
are merely punishing your partner for his or her words or actions by being
silent, the disconnection is sure to grow.
Space and introspection can help you and your mate learn how to deliberately
respond to one another rather than unconsciously reacting to situations or
rushing headlong into an argument.
The silent treatment is not the way to create this introspective space. The
energy is quite different.
So be aware of your thoughts and your intentions. Ask your partner for more
information rather than making up stories to fill in the blanks.
And, perhaps most important of all, stay focused on what you want-- to
re-connect and move closer to the one you love.
and Otto Collins are married, life partners who are Relationship and
Life Success Coaches, and authors of several books on relationships,
including "Should You Stay or Should You
Go?" "No More Jealousy" "Creating
Relationship Trust" "Communication
Magic" and "Attracting Your
Perfect Partner." In addition to having a great relationship, they
regularly write, speak and conduct seminars on love, relationships and
personal growth. To read more free articles like this or to sign up for
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